The account team at an ad agency.
From the outside, we may not seem nearly as important as the creative team. The creative team seems to get all the glory. They can point at an ad with a proud smile and say simply “I created that.”
Meanwhile, us account people get to say “I worked on that piece! I discovered/shared key information that made the concept stronger, and recommended how/where/when it should be placed from a media standpoint. The client wanted to go another route that may not have helped them reach their objectives, and I advocated that this concept be used in addition to supporting pieces throughout the campaign. Oh, and I managed the entire project and kept the entire team from losing their minds from concept to client review to reality, ensuring all pieces (from client end to ours to media partners) where in place. Pretty cool, huh?”
Not nearly as sexy. Or brief.
Even so, many of us account folks continue to choose this path with a smile. And we should! We get all the business credibility while spending most of our time in super fun creative environments.
Even if outsiders are unaware of our importance (who watches an ad and thinks of the account team?), we’re important pieces of the agency and should probably aspire to be great in our field.
One article I read sometime back was A Good Account Executive Make a Big Difference from Industribrand.com. It was a simple read with no earth shattering information, but most of the information I took to heart and still try to incorporate it into my daily account functions. Below are a couple of basic things I think account team should do to be great.
Clarify and Confirm. Recently, a couple of colleagues mentioned to me that they assumed something was getting done internally and on the client’s end. I was actually taken aback when I heard the word assume. We are professionals.
For anyone on the account management team, it’s risky to simply assume that clients are doing what they need to do on their end; that all team members on your end understand client/project objectives and timing; that account planning knows all next steps for an initiative. Of all the teams in the agency, the account team shouldn’t assume that anything is ever getting done. Everyone on the account team needs to clarify information with team members, and confirm that designated parties understand next steps. This means of course that you will need to…
Know and understand. If you don’t know something that a client/creative team is relying on you to know, try to find out. Research. Use any resources you already have access to. Ask someone. You may not know everything about all things, but you should at least know key things like why the client is only promoting specific products this quarter or account team should be the gatekeeper of a lot of information regarding clients, initiatives, projects, etc. But we’re not perfect. Which is why If you find yourself with uncertainty, don’t be afraid to say “I’m not sure, but let me get with the team and get an answer for you.”
There are more basics (much more than acceptable for one blog post), but these could be considered two of the essentials.